asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the increase in the number of bulbs imported from the Netherlands during the two months ended February, 1934, over the two months ended February, 1932, amounts to more than 100 per cent.; and what steps he proposes to take to protect British bulb-growers?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, though I should not be prepared to draw inferences from the volume of imports during only two months in the year. In reply to the second part I would remind my hon. Friend that the statutory procedure provides for consideration of these matters by the Import Duties Advisory Committee in the first instance.
In view of the very difficult state of the trade at the present time, will the right hon. Gentleman, in the interests of agriculture, look into this matter very carefully, and see to it that British industry is more efficiently protected?
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a great number of the bulbs that come from the Netherlands are diseased and are causing very grave unrest in the minds of horticulturists in this country, and that from the point of view of the well-being of the industry—not only from the point of view of protection—it is important that this matter should be looked into?
I am interested by the careful distinction drawn by the hon. Member, and I am not disposed to draw such a distinction, but I shall be most happy to examine from a sanitary point of view any evidence which he can lay before me.